Bloomberg News

Republican Group Paid for Latest Round of Christie Air Trips

October 21, 2011

(Updates with Christie travel starting in first paragraph.)

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey state Republicans paid $85,000 for charter flights to send Governor Chris Christie on a national round of speeches and fundraisers in the third quarter.

That was the amount spent in July and September on flights for Christie, a first-term Republican, said Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the state party committee. Last month, Gorka said the group covered the $63,000 cost for Christie to fly to Colorado in June, to speak at a conference organized by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire oilmen and Tea Party supporters.

Gorka declined to say which trips the party paid for in the third quarter.

“Our policy is to not break out specifically what each expenditure is for,” Gorka said today by telephone.

Christie, 49, spent the last week of September traveling to Missouri, Louisiana and California to raise money for state parties, including New Jersey’s. His trip, which also included a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, led party fundraisers to urge him to get into the presidential race. Christie said Oct. 4 that he wouldn’t run.

The governor has made at least 35 political appearances outside New Jersey since he took office in January 2010. The trips helped generate more than $620,000 from non-New Jersey sources, of the almost $1.5 million raised by the state Republican Party in the quarter that ended last month, according to a filing with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Democratic Totals

State Republicans spent $1.44 million in that period, according to the commission. The Democratic State Committee raised $512,196 from July 1 to Sept. 30 and spent $399,504.

Republican expenditures included $25,616.68 in July and $59,451.77 in September to Meridian Air Charter of Teterboro, New Jersey. Meridian flew Christie to the June Koch conference, Gorka said last month.

Christie’s trips outside New Jersey turned into a political issue after that conference, which became public when the magazine Mother Jones posted a recording of his speech on its website Sept. 7. Christie doesn’t announce political travel on his public schedule.

The Koch trip raised questions from Senator Loretta Weinberg, 76, a Democrat from Teaneck, who introduced legislation to compel New Jersey governors to release their out- of-state travel plans. That bill remains in committee.

“I feel this way about all governmental and quasi- governmental activities: If you don’t want to reveal, you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” Weinberg said today by telephone.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor, referred questions about Republican expenses to the state committee.

--Editors: Stacie Servetah, Ted Bunker, Jerry Hart

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Young in Trenton at eyoung30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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